Austrian Nordic Biotherapeutics AG, of Vienna, Austria, and EuroFerm GmbH, of Berlin, exchanged letters of intent to collaborate on the in vivo production of viral vectors, initially to treat cancer. No further details were disclosed.

Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, said a jury found in its favor in the case of patent infringement brought by GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, that claimed Herceptin and Rituxan infringed four U.S. patents held by Glaxo related to use of specific kinds of antibodies for treatment of human disease, including cancer. A jury unanimously ruled that Genentech does not have to pay royalties to Glaxo on Herceptin (trastuzumab) and Rituxan (rituximab). SG Cowen Securities Inc. Analyst Eric Schmidt said the decision in Genentech¿s favor was expected on Wall Street, where industry watchers did not anticipate a Glaxo win.

Genzyme General, of Cambridge, Mass., said it is raising its Renagel revenue guidance for 2001 to $130 million to $140 million, up from $120 million to $130 million, based on the product¿s continued strong performance in the United States and Europe. Renagel generated $56 million in revenue in 2000. Also, the company said it would relaunch the 800 mg tablet formulation of Renagel in June.

Gilead Sciences Inc., of Foster City, Calif., said it submitted a marketing authorization application to the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products seeking approval of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (tenofovir DF) for the treatment of HIV infection. Gilead submitted a new drug application for the same indication to the FDA on May 1, based on positive Phase III results. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 21, 2001.)

Illumina Inc., of San Diego, said its board of directors adopted a stockholders rights plan and declared a dividend of one preferred stock purchase right on each outstanding share of its common stock. The non-taxable dividend distribution will be made on May 14, payable to stockholders of record on that date. The rights are designed to assure that all stockholders receive fair and equal treatment in certain proposed takeovers of the company and guard against coercive takeover tactics.

Oncolytics Biotech Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, filed an investigational new drug submission with Health Canada for its first Phase II trial for Reolysin, the formulation of the reovirus which is a potential therapeutic for cancer. It intends to proceed with up to three trial programs to examine the safety and efficacy of the product through administration in several cancer indications. Initial studies will focus on cancers where the product is best suited for direct injection.

Matritech Inc., of Newton, Mass., presented data at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry¿s 33rd Oak Ridge Conference in Seattle on its proprietary blood test under development for men with, or at risk of, prostrate cancer. Fifty-six specimens were tested in all ¿ 36 specimens from men with prostate cancer and 20 specimens from healthy men. Matritech scientists, in collaboration with scientists at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, found a specific protein in the blood of all 36 men with prostate cancer that was absent in the blood of healthy men. Also, the study identified eight out of the 36 men with cancer that had been missed by a prostate cancer antigen test.

MGI Pharma Inc., of Minneapolis, initiated a Phase II trial of irofulven, its anticancer compound, in patients with recurrent malignant glioma. The multicenter trial will evaluate the antitumor activity, safety and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic profile of irofulven as a single agent in up to 27 patients. Objective tumor response rate is the primary endpoint of the trial, with duration of response, time to disease progression and overall survival as secondary endpoints. Patient enrollment is expected to last 12 months.

Nouvel Pharma Inc., of Lenexa, Kan., a subsidiary of NeoPharma Production AB, of Uppsala, Sweden, said it began a Phase III trial for its lead drug candidate, Duodopa. The trial will be a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to demonstrate the efficacy of Duodopa in advanced-stage Parkinson¿s patients. The trial is scheduled to complete in late 2001, when Nouvel plans to submit a new drug application to the FDA. Duodopa is a liquid gel preparation of levodopa/carbidopa and administration is via intraduodenal infusion to the small intestine.

Salus Therapeutics Inc., of Salt Lake City, appointed Richard Koehn president and CEO. Koehn was the founding director of the Center for Advanced Biomedical Biotechnology for the State of New York, a co-founder of the New York Biotechnology Association and the founder of one of the first biotechnology incubator programs in the United States. Salus is focused on the research and development of nucleic acid-based therapeutics, including antisense and gene therapy drugs.

Sangstat Inc., of Fremont, Calif., said the Commercial Court of Lyon ruled against Sangstat¿s subsidiary, IMTIX-Sangstat S.A.S., in the breach of contract suit filed by two of the company¿s rabbit serum suppliers, IFFA Credo and Elevage Scientifique des Dombes. The court awarded the suppliers FFr26.5 million (US$3.6 million) for lost profits and reimbursement of capital expenditure. IMTIX-Sangstat said it believes the ruling was in error and plans to appeal the decision.

Xenometrix Inc., of Boulder, Colo., said its shareholders approved the acquisition by Discovery Partners International Inc., of San Diego, expected to close May 8. Xenometrix shareholders will receive approximately 63 cents in cash per share of which about 6 cents will be placed in escrow and held for a period of 12 months to pay any indemnity obligations of the company.

Xenon Genetics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, completed its second and final closing in its mezzanine financing round. The closing raised an additional $2.6 million, bringing the round¿s total to $47.6 million. (See BioWorld Today, April 5, 2001.)

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